Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vaseMeiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900

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Lot 248
Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927)
A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vase
Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900
Sold for US$ 212,575 inc. premium

Fine Japanese and Korean Art

20 Mar 2019, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vaseMeiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900 Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vaseMeiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900 Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927) A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vaseMeiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900
Namikawa Yasuyuki (1845-1927)
A large and important hexagonal cloisonné-enamel vase
Meiji era (1868-1912), circa 1900

The tall vase with high shoulders tapering to the foot and worked in colored enamels and varying thicknesses of gold wire with butterflies in long trailing branches of wisteria against a midnight-blue ground, the mounts silver, signed on the underside Kyoto Namikawa
12 1/4in (31.1cm) high

Footnotes

  • These three ornamental shippo (cloisonné-enamel) vases are outstanding products from the workshop of Namikawa Yasuyuki, one of the very greatest exponents of cloisonné enameling during the Meiji era (1868–1912). Modest and reserved, yet single-minded, Yasuyuki overcame early financial and technical failures to build a cloisonné business that, by the 1890s, employed 20 or more highly skilled specialist craftsmen in a large complex in Kyoto that included workshops, a showroom, a family residence, and a garden with a fishpond. He used these facilities to create a carefully contrived "authentic" private retail experience that was described in admiring detail by American and European travel writers, selling his choicest wares directly to private clients, as well as carrying out imperial commissions and participating in international expositions. Between 1876 and 1904 Namikawa Yasuyuki won 11 overseas awards and in 1896 was among the first artist-entrepreneurs appointed to the order of Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist-Craftsman to the Imperial Household).

    The small jar (lot 247) is a fine example of Namikawa Yasuyuki's mature early production, with detailed wirework covering most of the surface; By the early years of the twentieth century he had perfected his techniques to the point where the melted glass pastes (enamels), when they cooled, adhered so securely to the copper base that he could indulge in broad areas of highly polished uninterrupted color, limiting his use of the thin metal ribbons called cloisons to passages of intricate polychrome decoration. As the British traveler Herbert Ponting observed, "Namikawa's fame rests as much on the lustre and purity of his monochrome backgrounds as on the decoration of his ware" (Herbert Ponting, In Lotus-Land Japan, London, Macmillan, 1910, p. 62). The mature Namikawa Yasuyuki style is seen to magnificent effect in the unusually tall hexagonal vase (lot 248) featuring his favorite wisteria motif.

    Along with his great contemporaries Namikawa Sosuke of Tokyo (no relation) and Ando Jubei of Nagoya (lot 252), Namikawa Yasuyuki created a craze for shippo, in the space of three decades taking the medium from clumsy imitation of Chinese wares to sophisticated and delicate eclectic visual fantasies that helped define Japanese art for worldwide collectors of the Edwardian generation. After more than fifty years of neglect, shippo re-emerged onto the market toward the end of the twentieth century, attracting a new and enthusiastic wave of connoisseurs and even prompting a re-evaluation of this export-oriented art form in Japan, where a comprehensive exhibition held in 2017 confidently presented Namikawa Yasuyuki as a design revolutionary who reinterpreted and packaged Japanese visual culture for a global audience (see Hida Toyoro and others, Namikawa Yasuyuki shippo, Meiji shippo no yuwaku: Tomei na kuro no kansei [Namikawa Yasuyuki and Japanese Cloisonné, The Allure of Meiji Cloisonné: The Aesthetic of Translucent Black], Tokyo, Mainichi Shinbunsha, 2017).
Activities
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